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family

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"I'm proud of you"

I'm proud of you. I don't know about you, but those four little words strung together can make an impact like few others in my life. 

Just today I received a phone call from my big sis. She really amazes me sometimes with her perspective of me and my journey to my business. (She also has a sixth sense and always knows things before I tell her, but that's a different topic all together.) When she called me kind of out of the blue, it was just to catch up. She went on to tell me that she was just talking about me and how she believes a friend of hers can be successful in her similar business because I am successful in mine.

It stopped me in my tracks filled with humility and uncertainty. Rather than being appreciative of the comment, I was almost argumentative with my sister saying that it sounds like this person is even more successful than me.

You're probably reading this thinking: But you ARE successful. You're in business, your doors are open and things are growing; how many people have that?

The truth is she's right and you're right! I have success in my business and my life. I see it when I pay attention, but day-to-day it's easy to forget the journey at which I've already succeeded and the little steps along the way. 

In early years on this journey the thought that someone else was more successful would have gotten stuck in my head. I would have decided that since they are more successful, I am a failure (now that's a blog for another day). I would have allowed it to eat me alive, defeating my future attempts at the next milestone of success on my journey ahead. 

This time was different. I heard the words my sister said, almost immediately tuning them out. I felt and heard the loud and negative bitch in my head telling me I am not successful- I've failed. But then I heard my sisters words again. She was trying to tell me that she was proud of me, and a couple sentences later, that's exactly what she said. Had I allowed the loud negative thoughts to plague me, I never would have heard the most important words my sister had for me today. 

She would have said those positive words, but I never would have received them as the gift she intended. If I hadn't opened my mind to receive those words, when things get harder during this journey (and they will), I wouldn't have that gift to lean on. 

I'm eternally grateful to my sister for her words of encouragement, and not just for the content of her being proud of me, or for the future memory of that moment. I'm also grateful that her moment of kindness unlocked awareness of strength inside me and gratitude for my journey, completed and incomplete.

The healing and growth I have had over the last few years is not only palatable, but it is being put into action even without conscious effort. If this sounds a little like a self-kudos moment-- IT IS! I'm proud of me for numerous reasons right now! 

Thanks to my big sis for always being my cheerleader and supporter, and for helping me see an accurate reflection of my journey in this moment.  

I hope this encourages you to keep working towards a healthy mindset and emotional health. You are worthy of believing in yourself. Until you believe that about yourself, I'm here to remind you!

I'm proud of you for every bit of effort you have put into you, for making every hard decision that allowed you to step into a better version of yourself, and for just showing up, reading a blog, getting out of bed, or saying a prayer when it was hard to even exist. You're valuable to this world just because you are you!

Please feel free to comment below, share with friends and family or email me personally. lj@infinitely-fit.com. 

LJ Eastmead

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Stress & Exercise

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Stress & Exercise

In our fast paced, 21st century world stress is ubiquitous; everyone experiences it.

3,000 years ago, our ancestors dealt with stress, but the sources of their stress were very different than they are today. While being chased by a lion or having to run after your own dinner sounds pretty stressful, these were immediate stressors that were quickly resolved.

Once they were safe and their dinner was caught, our ancestors didn’t worry about impending deadlines, rush-hour traffic, mortgage payments or getting the kids to school on time. These stressors that you deal with every day are more chronic in nature – and they’re slowly causing your physical and mental health to deteriorate.

Physiological Response to Stress

Your body has a pretty incredible stress response. When you step out in front of a car your brain immediately receives a distress signal. It increases your heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. It tells your liver to dump glucose into your blood stream, causing blood sugar to skyrocket. It releases cortisol, the “gas” that keeps your stress response revving.

In the event of a lion chasing you, this response is incredibly adaptive. It allows you to mobilize your energy stores and react as efficiently as possible.

In the face of chronic stressors, this response becomes maladaptive and downright harmful. Chronically high rates of cortisol can have disastrous effects on your physical and mental health. 

Consequences of Long-Term Stress

Chronic stress is akin to your body believing that a lion is chasing after you all the time. Prolonged stress can wreak havoc on all of your body’s systems. Some of the effects include:

  • Cardiovascular complications

  • Psychological disorders including anxiety and depression

  • Digestive issues and headaches

  • Muscle tension and tightness

  • Weight gain

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Concentration and memory problems

When you’re feeling overburdened the last thing you want to do is add another activity to your to-do list. But exercise should be the one activity you make time to pencil in.

While exercise will take some time out of your day, it has clear stress-reduction benefits make it a no-brainer when battling chronic stress.

How Exercise Helps

There are a variety of ways exercise can be helpful in reducing stress levels. Specifically exercise:

Exercise can be a powerful, natural aid in the reduction of stress. However, a principle I’ve been working to better understand and practice is “your body cannot differentiate stressors.”

What does that mean?

Whether you’re cramming for a midterm, giving a presentation at work, running sprints at your local track or being chased by a lion, your body doesn’t know the difference and frankly, it doesn’t care.

This means that as much as exercise can help with stress, it can also hurt. In fact, long-term over exercise has symptoms very similar to chronic stress.

How to use Exercise to your Advantage

If exercise can improve and worsen stress, how do you ensure that you are exercising in a beneficial way? When you’re feeling burnt out, focus on these exercise tips to ensure your getting the most stress busting bang for your buck.

  • Low-moderate intensity. When stressed, you don’t want to exercise in a way that puts a ton of additional strain on your body. Include gentler forms of exercise like walking, jogging, yoga, and light cycling or strength training. Not sure what light to moderate means? Use the talk test. If you can still manage to hold a conversation you’re doing it right

  • Frequency>intensity or duration. The effects of an exercise session on stress are immediate. The more often you can incorporate exercise the more likely it is to have an accumulative effect on your overall stress levels

  • Include Deep breathing – Take deep, steady breaths at the beginning, end and periodically throughout your exercise sessions, focusing on the sensation of feeling your lungs expand and contract with air.

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation This technique is best done at the end of a session (and can be done when not exercising) and includes contracting then releasing each major muscle, working from your head down.

  • Finish Strong. I’m not talking about eking out one more set of push-ups or stair sprints, here. I’m referring to finishing strong with your mind. End your session with a few deep breaths and a quick stretch. This is a great way to ensure you leave your exercise session feeling refreshed and relaxed, instead of more wound up.

While stress is an inevitable part of modern life, exercise can help reduce the havoc it wreaks on your body and mind. If you’ve been avoiding exercise because you feel you’re simply too busy, commit to including some of these practices 2-3 days a week. Incorporating physical activity will help you de-stress and improve your health, happiness and peace of mind.

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Who Comes First… Family or Me?

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Who Comes First… Family or Me?

When I think of family, I think of my loved ones. My parents who would drive me from one sports practice to the other, the memories of my brother, sister and I running around outside breathing in the fresh air then walking into my house smelling this immaculate home cooked meal that my mother prepared. Family is crucial for celebrating the successes in life, to learn to be self-less and maybe a little selfish, and to be taught things intentionally and even unintentionally. One thing that many parents teach children is how to view what is important in life. If a parent view is focused on working out, eating healthy and spending quality family time as a priority, your child will generally think the same.  Teaching your children to be active and to be able to eat healthy at a young age is crucial and simpler to accomplish at a younger ages, so start as early as you can. In doing so, this sets the stage for the children to want to be healthier across their whole life. This creates a domino effect for everyone you surround yourself with as well. Your best friend sees that you are full of energy and have a glow to your skin asks, “What you have been doing different?” After you tell her your glorious not-so-secret changes, she will start changing her lifestyle, and before you know it she has more energy and a skip to her step too.

In order to help your family and friends, you must be selfish enough to take care of yourself first. I see a lot of parents feeding their children apples while they eat sodium packed high fat frozen microwaveable meal. Even though the child is getting the better nutritional option, they still see what their parents are doing to find what is and is not acceptable to eat. Here are some ways to make sure that you become healthier, which helps your family to follow in the right direction.

First, drink your water! This not only helps with digestion, skin and hair but it helps with not having the need to crave sugar or processed foods.

Second, take out a calendar and schedule days and times when you exercise. When you look on your calendar, you are able to see where you have free time to be able to exercise instead of skipping out.  

Third, sleep at least eight hours a night. Sleeping is crucial for hormones, when there is a lack of sleep you are more likely to over eat and choose unhealthy foods. 

Fourth, make more home cooked meals. When meals are home cooked you are able to know how much of salt and fat you are putting into your meals. Plus, it will be fresh and not processed.

Lastly, make time for you. Meditate, go out with the girlfriends for a girls night or just stay at home wrapped up with a new book.

If you are motivated and believe these steps are going to help you get the life and body you always wanted, but you don't know where to start- please contact us (fitness at infinitely-fit dot com) about our Waist Wars Program. It's the accountability you need to get this right!

As discussed, family is what makes life worth living. Might as well enjoy life feeling great and being the best you that you can be. 

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Written by Kelli Starr

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I'm proud of her...because she's me...

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I'm proud of her...because she's me...

I have been working on many marketing pieces these last few weeks and spending more time than any one person should for their own mental well-being. As I got into marketing more on Instagram, I found that there are many more photos of very cut, muscular, almost-naked people on there than almost anywhere else on the internet. Considering that is the social media the younger generation uses, it's a bit disheartening- especially as the mom of a tween. Although that was bothersome, it is not why I decided to blog.

I am constantly posting about how I live a healthy lifestyle, and be certain that I am showing you the best of me most times. I want to show people how I do healthy things so they can join me on this side of physical health. It was life-changing for me in multiple ways and I want you to experience a piece of that, but my story isn't your story. Maybe choosing to live a healthier life is part of that, and maybe it isn't. That's only for you to decide. But if you are only recently following me, you may not know fully who I am. This woman right here is who I am to my core:

She had the guts to make a commitment to run a half marathon and then another when she was overweight. She was confident enough to squeeze into her spandex, lace up her shoes, and let all of the ripples in her body shake in front of the world. The photo above is me finishing my second, very slow half marathon at Disneyland with a smile on my face because I was so relieved I didn't have to run on my plantar fascitis foot any longer! But that 188lb, 5'8" woman is me. She got me to my 150lb self and even down to 145lb (until she realized it was too low). I'm grateful she had courage that I, ironically, don't always have in this body.

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This woman above...she is still insecure, she still overeats regularly and beats herself up over poor choices. She lives in a place of fear that one day she is going to wake up and be the size of the other woman. She obsessively weighs herself because she believes if she stays thin, she still has value. And somehow if she gained weight, she would be of no use to her clients. Or worse yet, everyone who find out she really is a phony who over-eats and practices unhealthy habits.

It's true the struggle is real everyday. Even living a fit, active, healthy lifestyle, I struggle with body image that is ingrained from 31 years of feeling inadequate because I was overweight and "big-boned". Just because I'm in a smaller body doesn't mean that goes away. I don't know if it ever will, but I am getting more OK with that. I'm proud of 188lb LJ for all she accomplished- 2 half marathons, running businesses, graduating from college after being a Marine, a wife and a mom. She did the best she knew how, and right now as I sit here and write this, I am so grateful she had the courage to tackle all of those things regardless of the lies her mind was telling her.

I think we all need to take a few cues from my strong, enduring, "I don't care what you think" and, yes, heavier past self. Tell those lies in your own head to "SHUT UP!" and starting doing it anyway! The lies we tell ourselves are just that, lies! Don't believe everything you hear in that head. Take a moment to evaluate what you are hearing. Is it true?

I don't know who you are reading this or why you chose to stick it out, but I can tell you this one thing. God placed you on this earth for a special purpose He has JUST FOR YOU! No one else can accomplish your purpose, and no one else will! You have beauty, talent, and a passion for a reason, don't let anyone take that away from you- ESPECIALLY YOU!

I'm proud of LJ then and now...because she's me!

Thanks for listening!
LJ Eastmead
lj@infinitely-fit.com
 

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